5E Sorcerer class improvement house rule

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I read through that paragraph and I see requirements that fit the wizard's strengths, such as a "party arcanist" suite of spells, but I see nothing that focuses on what makes the sorcerer a sorcerer. There's a bit about the acid focus that says at least there's some toward the subclass, but everything about the general class is describing a wizard class, not a sorcerer class. It's no surprise it was a poor fit.
I think you might be reading "party arcanist" a bit narrowly. I took it to mean that they wanted to be a sorcerer who could be the arcane role in the party. Which they can do, even with going for a theme. It might look different, but there is no reason you can't do it.

To me, the real knock for sorcerers (which is one of my favorite 5e classes to play and why it's frustrating) is their super lack of spells known. They are fluff supposed to be innately magical, yet both the Bard and Warlock who are also Charisma arcane casters, know more magic than default Sorcerers.

Spells known at the top end by Subclass (including UA):
  • Baseline: 6 cantrips & 15 spells of any levels
  • Aberrant Mind: base + 2 per spell level from 1st-5th (total 6 + 25)
  • Divine Soul: base + 1 spell based on alignment affinity choice
  • Draconic Bloodline: base + "mage armor" from Draconic Resilience
  • Giant Soul: base + 1 cantrip, 1x 1st level, 1x 2nd level based on Giant Bloodline
  • Shadow Magic: base + darkness
  • Storm Sorcery: base (in UA it was base +2/spell level like Aberrant Mind)
  • Wild Magic: base
Compared with the other spontaneous/charisma casters:
  • Bard baseline: 4 cantrips & 22 spells of any levels (4 of which can be from any spell list)
    • Glamour: can do command once/long rest so kind of like a spell known
    • Lore Bard: +2 spells from any class
  • Warlock baseline: 4 cantrips & 15 spells of any level up to 5th + 1 each of 6th-9th for a total of 19 spells known
So a sorcerer, the truly innate caster of arcane magic knows the least amount of spells even from their own class of spellcasters. Wizards dwarf them in spells known, but also prepared (20+Int mod (5)), plus at the top end, they get 1 unlimited spell from 1st and 2nd level each, swappable per day AND 2x 3rd level spells they can cast 1/Long Rest each without expending a spell slot.

To me, it's odd and unreasonable that the most "pure" arcane caster knows the least amount of spells. Which is why I give them more spells known at my table!



As for a Black Dragon theme... well what are you trying to do @Sword of Spirit that you don't feel like you can get done?

In 5e dragons don't have any innate magic other than their breath weapon.

You could play a Black Dragonborn and start the game with a 30' line Acid line Breath Weapon. You could also take the XGE feats for Dragonborn to get a Fear Aura like the Dragon's Frightful Presence as well as claws and scaled armor (redundant with the Draconic Bloodline class feature). Not to mention Acid Resistance at 1st level.

Or forego the Dragon Hide feat (armor + claws) and wait to get Alter Self at 3rd level. 1 hour, extendable to 2 with the right metamagic. That gives you the ability to breath water and swim like a Black dragon, but also grow claws (when you're not underwater) or a bite to attack like a Black Dragon. You can swap between being amphibious to natural weapons as an action each turn for the duration and Quicken some other spell still.

So far I've only touched one the default 15 spells known.

If it's "acidy" things you want to do, there is Acid Splash (cantrip), Chromatic Orb (1st), Dragon's Breath (2nd), and Vitriolic Sphere (4th - like Fireball but lasts 2 rounds and one level higher). Plus you have an innate breath weapon as a Dragonborn.

As a Draconic Bloodline you're adding your Charisma to most of the damages on those as well so they only get better.

So using 4 of the 15 spells known +1 cantrip and a feat (at 4th), you've got 4 or 5 ways to deliver acid damage, claws/bite, swimming & water breathing, as well as a frightful presence effect.

Mix in Quicken spell to toss out Orbs & Splashes or Spheres and Splashes and you've got a good combat baseline.

Then you have 11 spells known and 5 cantrips worth to play with over the levels to get things like Flight (until you get your wings at 14th level) and whatever else you think you might want as a caster.

I know "fire" get all the spells, but tons of things have fire resistance too. Few have acid resistance, plus with the Orb and the Dragon's Breath, you can change to different energy types each combat/casting. Also you have room to add more damage types in cantrip form.

Sorry, this got long.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
The issue for the sorcerer and most casters in general - following a theme for your spells is vastly underpowered compared to just picking the best spells that cover different areas.

There can be no balance here. To increase the themes power the non-themes power also increases.

Well, there is one way around this - Give some bonus for staying with the themes spells.
There's also another way - simply eliminate the ability to pick spells that don't align with your theme. Then you can do quite a bit of powering up as needed.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
Sorcery points on short rest recharge.
This, a thousand times this. This change instantly makes the sorcerer unique and solves the sorcery point problem. I would also grant additional metamagic abilities.

The sorcerer also needs far better origin subclasses. It's ridiculous you can't play an "elementalist" out of the box.

I don't think the sorcerer needs additional spells known per se, but they do need custom spell lists, which I would tie to the Origin paths. It's certainly beyond the scope the devs had for 5E but unique spell lists for each Origin would really make the sorcerer feel unique and highly customizable.

Unlike the other casters that may get a few additional spells from their subclass, I would do the opposite for sorcerers: a small spell list that is shared by all sorcerers but most of their spell list is determined by their Origin.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I agree with the OP’s premise: sorcerer is supposed to have a narrow focus, but that focus doesn’t need to be that narrow. A few things I considered, not necessarily all at the same time.

1) one or two bonus thematic spells per spell level 1-5, like domain extra spells.

2) 50% sorcery points recharge on short rest. A bit under, but not far off arcane recovery.

3) all metamagic options from level 2. Or start with 4, then 2 per extra metamagic features. Mirrors battlemaster
1) Agreed, i do this at my table

2) not sure about this, but I'd have to see it in play to see if it really changed the dynamic of the game too much

3) I give 2 at each extra feature instead of 1, so you'd get 6 total at my table, not 4.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
I agree with the OP’s premise: sorcerer is supposed to have a narrow focus, but that focus doesn’t need to be that narrow. A few things I considered, not necessarily all at the same time.

1) one or two bonus thematic spells per spell level 1-5, like domain extra spells.

2) 50% sorcery points recharge on short rest. A bit under, but not far off arcane recovery.

3) all metamagic options from level 2. Or start with 4, then 2 per extra metamagic features. Mirrors battlemaster
A wizard can prepare 4 spells at level 1. Your sorcerer would be preparing 3 or 4 as well. At level 5 a wizard can prepare 9 spells. Your sorcerer would be preparing between 9 and 12.

For the love of D&D think about proposed changes before posting them
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
To me, the real knock for sorcerers (which is one of my favorite 5e classes to play and why it's frustrating) is their super lack of spells known. They are fluff supposed to be innately magical, yet both the Bard and Warlock who are also Charisma arcane casters, know more magic than default Sorcerers.
The way I interpret it is different. Sorcerers know fewer spells but can adjust those spells with metamagic, making them more flexible than those other casters. Like if they total magical flexibility is "Known spells * 1.0 (can't adjust)" for the others and sorcerers are "Known spells * 1.5 (metamagic) and the second number for the sorcerer keeps going up as you get more SP and eventually more types of metamagic.

Going just by spells known is like using BMI to determine if someone is obese. Because muscle is denser than fat, someone who works out regularly can have an even higher BMI but lower body fat - it's only a partial score of the full picture.

The bard and warlock also start with half the cantrips of the sorcerer, so the sorcerer has much more flexibility than either of them in terms of magic they can do at will.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
A wizard can prepare 4 spells at level 1. Your sorcerer would be preparing 3 or 4 as well. At level 5 a wizard can prepare 9 spells. Your sorcerer would be preparing between 9 and 12.

For the love of D&D think about proposed changes before posting them
I think you misunderstand his point. Not 1-2 bonus spells per class level, but spell level. just like a domain or Circle of the Land class benefit. Also what you DO see in the Unearthed Arcana for the original Storm Sorcerer and the new Aberrant Mind. So bonus spells at Sorcerer level 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 of Spell levels 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th.

The difference you're not talking about though is that unlike Wizards, Sorcerer's don't have Ritual Spellcasting.

So, while a wizard can prepare 4-5 spells at level 1 depending on stat generation method and race, along with 3 cantrips. They also start the game with 6 spells known (vs. the sorcerer's 2 known spells by default) in their spellbook at 1st level and if 2 of them are Rituals (detect magic, find familiar, alarm, comprehend languages, identify, tenser's floating disk, unseen servant), they can cast those all day long without preparing them.

I do 1 extra spell known of each spell level from 1st-5th like domain spells, so they would have 3 spells known + 4 cantrips, almost exactly inverse of the wizard.

At 5th a Wizard is preparing 9-10 spells (again depending on stat generation method and race) + 4 cantrips, and my sorcerer would have 9 spells known + 5 cantrips. Again, with Ritual Casting, the Wizard now has: +2x 1st level, +4x 2nd level, & +2x 3rd level spells in their spellbook. Any of them being rituals they can cast for free all day long regardless of whether they are prepared or not.

There are 16 Ritual spells that a Wizard can have in their spellbook and cast all day long without preparing that a Sorcerer would have to waste both a spell known and spell slot to cast, so it's not as cut and dry as you're making it out to be to give the sorcerer 5 more spells known. I'm not sure 10 more is out of the question, as evidenced by the most recent UA Aberrant Mind.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
I think you misunderstand his point. Not 1-2 bonus spells per class level, but spell level. just like a domain or Circle of the Land class benefit. Also what you DO see in the Unearthed Arcana for the original Storm Sorcerer and the new Aberrant Mind. So bonus spells at Sorcerer level 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 of Spell levels 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th.

The difference you're not talking about though is that unlike Wizards, Sorcerer's don't have Ritual Spellcasting.

So, while a wizard can prepare 4-5 spells at level 1 depending on stat generation method and race, along with 3 cantrips. They also start the game with 6 spells known (vs. the sorcerer's 2 known spells by default) in their spellbook at 1st level and if 2 of them are Rituals (detect magic, find familiar, alarm, comprehend languages, identify, tenser's floating disk, unseen servant), they can cast those all day long without preparing them.

I do 1 extra spell known of each spell level from 1st-5th like domain spells, so they would have 3 spells known + 4 cantrips, almost exactly inverse of the wizard.

At 5th a Wizard is preparing 9-10 spells (again depending on stat generation method and race) + 4 cantrips, and my sorcerer would have 9 spells known + 5 cantrips. Again, with Ritual Casting, the Wizard now has: +2x 1st level, +4x 2nd level, & +2x 3rd level spells in their spellbook. Any of them being rituals they can cast for free all day long regardless of whether they are prepared or not.

There are 16 Ritual spells that a Wizard can have in their spellbook and cast all day long without preparing that a Sorcerer would have to waste both a spell known and spell slot to cast, so it's not as cut and dry as you're making it out to be to give the sorcerer 5 more spells known. I'm not sure 10 more is out of the question, as evidenced by the most recent UA Aberrant Mind.
1. You said 1 to 2 spells per spell level. I provided that range under normal stat progression. (Which your own analysis confirmed 9 spells for wizard and 9 for sorcerer - at the lower rate of +1 per spell level).

2. The sorcerer gets metamagic which is very powerful. If you allow a sorcerer with metamagic to match the spells known with a wizards then you've made a flat out better caster.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
The way I interpret it is different. Sorcerers know fewer spells but can adjust those spells with metamagic, making them more flexible than those other casters. Like if they total magical flexibility is "Known spells * 1.0 (can't adjust)" for the others and sorcerers are "Known spells * 1.5 (metamagic) and the second number for the sorcerer keeps going up as you get more SP and eventually more types of metamagic.

Going just by spells known is like using BMI to determine if someone is obese. Because muscle is denser than fat, someone who works out regularly can have an even higher BMI but lower body fat - it's only a partial score of the full picture.

The bard and warlock also start with half the cantrips of the sorcerer, so the sorcerer has much more flexibility than either of them in terms of magic they can do at will.
Not sure we're going to see eye to eye on this one.

To me metamagic is nice, but it's not Spells Known * 1.5, especially because you only get 2 metamagic options from 3rd to 10th level (which is is the zone most games die).

Most metamagic are great, but they are usually limited to a couple of spells known per option. Quicken is really the only one that is pretty much always useful. And Sorcery points never keep up with daily needs for my experience. I'm always burning through them at a prodigious rate. Then I have to decide if I want to just not have metamagic the rest of the day or burn spell slots to get some back. Unlike a wizard who can get back 1/2 their burned slots 1/Long Rest. That is so many sorcery points worth of casting ability that they just get back.

Yes, a sorcerer has more cantrips. But all the sorcerer has without being really creative or multiclassing, etc is spells. Bard's have a bunch a bunch of other things going on on top of knowing more spells than a sorcerer. The Warlock also has a bunch of other options depending on which Patron/Pact Boon they choose + Invocations.

My point is that by keeping them to the least spells known of any of the Charisma classes, they are overly narrow in their options. Not only do Bards and Warlocks KNOW more spells, they also have more things they can do besides just spells with all their other class features and options.

A sorcerer basically casts spells. So they should have more spells known and flexibility than the other Charisma-based caster options. Not near a Wizard's level obviously as that is the thing. But Sorcerer's are inadequate IMO in their spells known.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
1. You said 1 to 2 spells per spell level. I provided that range under normal stat progression. (Which your own analysis confirmed 9 spells for wizard and 9 for sorcerer - at the lower rate of +1 per spell level).

2. The sorcerer gets metamagic which is very powerful. If you allow a sorcerer with metamagic to match the spells known with a wizards then you've made a flat out better caster.
Again, no sorcerer is ever going to match spells with a wizard because they don't have Ritual Casting. I guess you missed that part of my last post.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Not sure we're going to see eye to eye on this one.

To me metamagic is nice, but it's not Spells Known * 1.5, especially because you only get 2 metamagic options from 3rd to 10th level (which is is the zone most games die).

Most metamagic are great, but they are usually limited to a couple of spells known per option. Quicken is really the only one that is pretty much always useful. And Sorcery points never keep up with daily needs for my experience. I'm always burning through them at a prodigious rate. Then I have to decide if I want to just not have metamagic the rest of the day or burn spell slots to get some back. Unlike a wizard who can get back 1/2 their burned slots 1/Long Rest. That is so many sorcery points worth of casting ability that they just get back.

Yes, a sorcerer has more cantrips. But all the sorcerer has without being really creative or multiclassing, etc is spells. Bard's have a bunch a bunch of other things going on on top of knowing more spells than a sorcerer. The Warlock also has a bunch of other options depending on which Patron/Pact Boon they choose + Invocations.

My point is that by keeping them to the least spells known of any of the Charisma classes, they are overly narrow in their options. Not only do Bards and Warlocks KNOW more spells, they also have more things they can do besides just spells with all their other class features and options.

A sorcerer basically casts spells. So they should have more spells known and flexibility than the other Charisma-based caster options. Not near a Wizard's level obviously as that is the thing. But Sorcerer's are inadequate IMO in their spells known.
Now I know your full of it. You just lost credibility. Warlocks suck as a caster. That you are even trying to compare a sorcerers casting to a warlocks tells me all I need to know.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Now I know your full of it. You just lost credibility. Warlocks suck as a caster. That you are even trying to compare a sorcerers casting to a warlocks tells me all I need to know.
Your opinions wound me, gasp.

Plus, I feel like you just reinforced my position not undermined it!

If a Warlock sucks as a caster, why the heck do they know more spells than a Sorcerer?
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Again, no sorcerer is ever going to match spells with a wizard because they don't have Ritual Casting. I guess you missed that part of my last post.
I love rituals. Give me the option of choosing metamagic or ritual casting in my class and I will choose metamagic every time. It's flat out better. Besides, ritual casting can be obtained from level 1 on as a feat. It's a fun feature but it's low entry cost doesn't really make it competitive with metamagic.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Your opinions wound me, gasp.

Plus, I feel like you just reinforced my position not undermined it!

If a Warlock sucks as a caster, why the heck do they know more spells than a Sorcerer?
They suck as a caster because lack of spell slots. They could know every spell and would still suck as a caster.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I love rituals. Give me the option of choosing metamagic or ritual casting in my class and I will choose metamagic every time. It's flat out better. Besides, ritual casting can be obtained from level 1 on as a feat. It's a fun feature but it's low entry cost doesn't really make it competitive with metamagic.
A feat is not a low entry cost in 5e. I would only agree that metamagic is better in a powergame sense to break action economy. That isn't the only framework to look at class features, there are 2 other pillars of play besides combat and metamagic (that most people take) really only shine in combat.

When was the last time someone used metamagic effect in a non-combat pillar situation? Subtle spell is the only one I've ever seen and I've only seen one person take that as an option at level 3 in games I've been a part of (me).

Maybe you could use Distant in non-combat situations, but I've never seen anyone actually take that as a metamagic, because sorcerers really only get two to use for the life of most games.

They suck as a caster because lack of spell slots. They could know every spell and would still suck as a caster.
You do know that every short rest Warlocks get their slots back, right? They only suck as casters if you are only taking 0-1 short rests per game day.

A 3rd level Sorcerer knows 4 spells and has a total of 6 spells slots per day (4x 1st and 2x 2nd). Maybe 7 if they burn sorcery points on another 1st level slot rather than a precious Metamagic.

A 3rd level Warlock knows 4 spells and has a total of 2 spell slots per short rest. If you rest every 2 encounters of a 6 encounter day (base game balance is around that many encounters per day), then a Warlock has 6-8 2nd level spell slots per day.

A 3rd level Warlock who took Pact of the Tome warlock has as many cantrips as a sorcerer, 3 from any class list. Add on Book of Ancient Secrets Invocation and they've got access to every ritual spell in the game, not just the wizard ones. Now they're certainly a better "classic caster" archetype than a sorcerer.

On top of that, a Warlock has the benefits of any of his other class features and Invocations beyond being as good or better than a sorcerer as a spellcaster in terms of total spell casting potential in a day.

Which is part of my WHOLE point. The Sorcerer should be better at magic than a warlock, but they're not. Except they can twin a spell or quicken one a couple to a few times per day. That doesn't make up for their overall inflexibilty in spells known to me.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
A feat is not a low entry cost in 5e. I would only agree that metamagic is better in a powergame sense to break action economy. That isn't the only framework to look at class features, there are 2 other pillars of play besides combat and metamagic (that most people take) really only shine in combat.
Variant human + ritual caster. Practically no cast at all....

When was the last time someone used metamagic effect in a non-combat pillar situation? Subtle spell is the only one I've ever seen and I've only seen one person take that as an option at level 3 in games I've been a part of (me).
Twin spell is great out of combat. Heightened can be good as well.

You do know that every short rest Warlocks get their slots back, right? They only suck as casters if you are only taking 0-1 short rests per game day.
They still suck. They have no versatility. They use hypnotic pattern or fireball or whatever and almost never use spell slots for anything else because they just don't have enough at any given time.

A 3rd level Sorcerer knows 4 spells and has a total of 6 spells slots per day (4x 1st and 2x 2nd). Maybe 7 if they burn sorcery points on another 1st level slot rather than a precious Metamagic.

A 3rd level Warlock knows 4 spells and has a total of 2 spell slots per short rest. If you rest every 2 encounters of a 6 encounter day (base game balance is around that many encounters per day), then a Warlock has 6-8 2nd level spell slots per day.
Doesn't matter. they never get to use them on anything because they are always saving them for combat. When you only have 2 of something till you rest again that's what ultimately happens. You can't take the risk of not having those for combat.

A 3rd level Warlock who took Pact of the Tome warlock has as many cantrips as a sorcerer, 3 from any class list. Add on Book of Ancient Secrets Invocation and they've got access to every ritual spell in the game, not just the wizard ones. Now they're certainly a better "classic caster" archetype than a sorcerer.

On top of that, a Warlock has the benefits of any of his other class features and Invocations beyond being as good or better than a sorcerer as a spellcaster in terms of total spell casting potential in a day.
invocations suck for out of combat stuff. Trust me, I like the concept of a warlock. I like the concept of short rest recharge casting. But warlocks simply don't have the tools to be as strong of characters as sorcerers, bards or wizards.

Which is part of my WHOLE point. The Sorcerer should be better at magic than a warlock, but they're not. Except they can twin a spell or quicken one a couple of times per day.
There's that credibility thing again - you are still arguing that sorcerers don't far surpass warlocks when it comes to magic. That's a position grounded in pure fantasy.
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
3) Sorcery points need to be dedicated to Flexible Casting (as their analogy to Arcane Recovery or Natural Recovery), and not shared with Metamagic.
Wouldn't it be cleaner to do the reverse? Use sorcery points exclusively for metamagic, and then just straight up give them more spell slots like they had in 3E. Then you don't have to add a third resource system to the class.

EDIT: Hell, just give them a lot of extra spell slots and have them spend slots to activate metamagic too. Get the resource system count down to one.
 
Last edited:

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
There's that credibility thing again - you are still arguing that sorcerers don't far surpass warlocks when it comes to magic. That's a position grounded in pure fantasy.
Yep, grounded in 5e D&D! Pure fantasy!

We’re not gonna see Eye 2 Eye on this, so I’m done responding to this particular derailment of the thread.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Yep, grounded in 5e D&D! Pure fantasy!

We’re not gonna see Eye 2 Eye on this, so I’m done responding to this particular derailment of the thread.
We are literally talking about whether more spells known would unbalance things in the sorcerers favor. You agreed that in the pure powergamer sense than metamagic is better than ritual casting and so it's just s small step to go beyond that and realize that if metamagic is better for powergaming and if you give the sorcerer just as many spells as the wizard then he's clearly the better class to powergame with. When that happens - whatever change you were making is an admitted obvious imbalance in that classes favor.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
The base sorcerer is fine. Just like in 3E, where they were introduced, they have less spell selection, but more oomph for their spells. By spending SP, they can either have more spells per day, do extra things with their spells, or some combination of both once they hit 5th level or so. My issue with the sorcerer is in the sub-classes, which vary greatly.

Dragon - the only thing needed to make this better is more spells. Not more spells known, but more elemental spells printed. As is, there's only enough fire spells to make them viable, but by adding more spell options the others will work fine.

Wild - this is actually a really good sub-class, but it's too dependent on the DM to trigger, especially tides of chaos. The other downside is that it is possible, albeit unlikely, to cause a TPK by dropping a fireball on you and your allies at low levels (I suffered this at level 1, and it sucks for everyone). This can be fixed by simply working with your DM.

Storm - this is really bad IMO. Tempestuous Magic and Heart of the Storm both imply the character is meant for melee, which is a TERRIBLE place for them to be with no armor and 1d6 HD. If Tempestuous Magic gave more like 30 feet and Heart of the Storm targeted a single creature within 30 ft, it would be perfectly fine. As is, it's simply a great way to get killed.

Divine - amazing.

Shadow - haven't seen anyone play, but I would think that its abilities are too dependent on the use of SP, which takes away from the base class. I would allow Eyes of the Dark to simply allow you to see through your own cast darkness spell, and reduce the cost of the Hound to 2 SP or limit it to once per long rest.
 

Advertisement

Top